Have you ever felt empty in life; felt as if life has no meaning because of the various hardships and low moments which are part and parcel of our daily lives. Felt so low, obscured, tainted and unwanted to a point of giving up in life. This is a feeling that some people may have experienced at one time or another.
Previously this website had no content. It was empty and void from sometimes late in 1998 to mid 2010 when the domain was left to expire. There has been no content published on the site since then and this made it tricky to determine what content to put on the site.
Lets talk about breast cancer and feeling empty
Nobody talks about cancer, until they have it. I had spent most of my adolescent life around it. I lost my mother to bone cancer when I was 12. She was 42 when she died. A great aunt on my mother’s side had died from breast cancer when I was like 8.
I was 48 years old when I got the biopsy result, saying that I had breast cancer. The only question that popped in my head was, “Why now?” I won’t bore you with my past life history, other than to say, most of my friends were peer-pressuring me to get regular mammograms. And given my family cancer history and “high risk” status, I do undergo regular screening.
I was undergoing regular check-ups and Pap smears from around 5 years before. I had a couple of lumps on my breasts three years prior, which were just cysts. Then finally, there was a new lump on my left breast, which thank-goodness, they did another ultrasound, and it wasn’t a cyst.
I had a biopsy and then went on with my life as if nothing had happened. Maybe I purged the worry from my brain to combat the anxiety, so I was quite suprised, OK, in shock when the call came from the doctor’s office with the biopsy results, telling me that I had a 1-cm invasive ductal carcinoma. I was driving back from work at that moment.
Then, my brain was behaving like, I had thought I had seen this coming, but that didn’t last long, and suddenly, I missed my mom like I had never before, and was slumped over the wheel crying like I had no control over it. It was almost as if I was watching somebody else cry for 15 minutes.
I finally managed to reach home and waited for my husband Ben to arrive. Ben didn’t know what to say, probably because I was very calm about it. We hugged and just cuddled up on the sofa. He called my dad who actually sounded relieved as if he was waiting for the news.
It wasn’t like when my Mom had cancer. Skipping ahead… after a few doctors visits, I had a clear roadmap as to what lay ahead and what I needed to expect.
I called up work to let them know of the situation. I was going to need time off to get various treatments.
Although it was an HER2 positive cancer, which could be easily treated with herceptin, I was mentally overwhelmed and spent my recovery period watching movies and stand-up comedy on YouTube. Ie, sitting on the couch.
It was that and a lot of sleeping. I think this is the opposite of looking after myself, like I was apparently supposed to do.
I was a little surprised by the fact that none of my friends had really called on me. Word had gotten out through office and I rationalized that people were uncomfortable dealing with the subject of cancer. I mean, what do you say to somebody who has cancer? You really can’t even ask “how are you?” or “what are you doing?”
The treatment took a year and the mental toll it took on me far outweighed the physical challenges. I felt like I was falling down a black hole with no light in sight. The loneliness was kind of numbing for me. I wanted Ben and Dad to relax and stop worrying, so I did my own shopping, took care of my laundry, and just spent my free time staring into the television or just lying wide awake. Gradually, my friends started calling on me and congratulated me on my recovery.
Strangely, I couldn’t deal with it. As far as they were concerned, I was over everything, had conquered my challenge, and everything was back to normal. For them, I should be moving on. This just wasn’t the case with me. As far as I was concerned, I was still trying to overcome the mental strain of dealing with the situation, and hence it was not over for me. I couldn’t match the cheerful energy of my friends and drew back into my shell. Though they probably meant only the best for me, my friends were making me feel worse. I realized that I had to learn to deal with this on my own terms over time.
It’s been more than a year now since I got the phone call in my car that fated evening. Even though I have fully recovered from the cancer, I am still trying to find a foothold to get back on track with my old life. All said and done, this one year of my life taught me more about life than all my healthy years combined. I appreciate everything around me and have learned to value things I never even noticed before.